Back in P.C. means Boat Chores and Paperwork!
After our wonderful month+ in the Perlas Islands, we returned to Panama City where we
spent 28 days on a mooring at the Balboa Yacht Club. There were many things we needed
and wanted to do before we transited the Panama Canal to "the other side", and
Panama City was likely to be the last chance to do many of these things.
Straightaway upon our arrival, we put up the Wi-Fi antenna and found that we
had a good internet connection. We posted web pages, paid bills and did banking
chores, and subscribed for another year to
buoyweather, two online
services that we have used successfully, and often, on the trip so far. In the
next few days, we made a number of trips ashore and into the city to do things
like laundry, and to purchase spare parts and supplies for the boat,
a seemingly never-ending process. We got a new, additional
spare propeller for the outboard, as well as zincs, WD-40, Armour All,
waterproofing spray, and so on. I was also able to find
some external 2.5" hard disks for our laptop computer onto which
I could back up our ever growing inventory of digital photographs
and movie footage.
On our 2nd night back, our good friend Tahsin from DELFIN SOLO, already on the
Caribe side, unexpectedly dropped by. We had heard him on the VHF radio and invited him to
the boat. It turned out that he was held up in Panama City for the night due to some problems
with Immigration, as he was attempting to leave Panama to fly back to his home in Turkey
to visit his ailing mother. He was understandably upset, so we had a nice dinner and some drinks on the
boat to relax him, and talked about all manner of things, particularly his experiences in
transiting the Canal and visiting Bocas Del Toro, before he left for his early morning flight.
More days were spent doing the backups of the photos and capturing
the 8-9 hours of video from DV tapes that we had collected so far.
I spent an afternoon monkeying around with some of the instruments that
were intermittent. By the end of the of the first week
back in P.C., we had also re-upped our supply of DVDs and books, going
to 4-5 bookstores and to the "street of thieves" in Old Town where we
were able to buy recently released movies at bootleg prices.
At the beginning of the second week, we put together an order for
boat spares and supplies that could not be found in Panama City,
and which would have to be shipped to us from the U.S.A. Specifically,
we needed to get recharge kits for the inflatable life vests, spare
macerators and rebuild kits for them. For this purpose, we contacted Arturo at
They run a shipping container down from the US each month, and we
added our list of items to their next shipment.
More items of business that we took care of that week included
ordering a bunch of stuff from ebay and having it shipped to the
Marine Warehouse in Miami to be included on the boat to us in Panama.
I also ordered a bunch of spare batteries for the digital camera
as ours were getting old and not holding charges very well. Spurred
on by my purchase of the 160GB hard disks, I also ordered two
external 250G hard disks, so as to not only be able to back up the
pictures and videos, but to have enough room to be able to begin cataloguing
them and start production of the movie that I hope to make about our trip.
As we were coming up on the end of our first full year of cruising,
there were also a number of other book-keeping tasks to get done.
We contacted our insurance agent and started the process of getting
another year's worth of insurance for the boat. We paid, online,
property taxes for our house(s) in San Diego and my sister's place
in Tucson. We also had a lingering task of proving that RHAPSODY
did NOT owe property taxes in California (as we had left on October 29th
the previous year). The San Diego County Tax assessors office required
that I document where the boat had been, and so I spent the afternoon
sending and receiving emails on the subject, till finally, after sending
scans of our Mexican Temporary Import Permit, our Zarpes out of Mexico,
El Salvador, Costa Rica, and into Panama, I was able to convince the
Tax Assesor that we did not owe any property taxes to San Diego for